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Computer slow, Hard drive noisy

by BenReilley / November 29, 2006 1:15 AM PST

Hey everyone,

my computer is running xp and takes forever with every little task.
Even just opening the IE, you hear a the hardrive loudly working for 5 seconds before anything happens even with a clean installation. My first instinct was upgrading the RAM to 512MB since I figured 256 is the minimum needed. It didnt help, next I replaced the Power Supply despite the fact that Asus Probe has shown no error and nothing. Next I changed from a WD 20GB Hard Drive to a Maxtor 60GB ATA 100 Drive, didnt help. So I there was not much left CPU and Mainboard were new anyway and the problem occured with an old Athlon 800 System as well.
Last thing I could thing of I put in an Promise ATA100 Controller from my other System to work around the onboard IDE, didnt help either. I am pretty much running out of ideas, I have changed basicly everything, if I didnt knew better I would say its the hard drive but when I took out the WD 20GB and put it in another system there was no problem, I ran Diagnostics with Maxtor's and WD's Tools and got no errors, defragmenting or scandisk didnt do any good. For my taste the sound of the Hard Drive is extremely loud but then again the Unit is standing closer to me. I was thinking maybe (dont know if its possible) the unit is standing right next to the Monitor (CRT), is it possible that EMI from the monitor is causing my problems? Im tempted to open the window and throwing out but if I cant find the cause, how likely is it that the symtoms persist even after all parts are changed?

Asus A7S333
Athlon 2400+
512MB PC266 RAM
GeForce2 AGP
Maxtor 60GB Hard Drive (Primary IDE)
DVD ROM (Secondary IDE)
Windows XP Home

I appreciate any thoughts.

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"even with a clean installation" may be proper.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 29, 2006 1:30 AM PST

I'll take the clue in that "even with a clean installation" may mean the usual oversight that Microsoft doesn't fetch proper motehrboard and other drivers.

Tell what version motherboard drivers you installed.


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Look at...
by Willy / November 29, 2006 1:39 AM PST

Under the HD diags, most supply a sw setting for ATA 100/66/33, in other words you to check for ATA100 setting is active. That way at least the HD is at its best speed. This is outside what the controller does as well, you set the HD for ATA100.

If you haven't just check the system for malware. Use your AV pgm. plus any spyware types in order to eliminate that as a cause. Next, check *all* backgrd. running tasks and see what's really running. You can hit Ctl+Alt+Del just once at same time and see what's running. If in doubt, then google for that task name and check results. You can also check the startup processes as well, use the MSCONFIG. Goto start>run>msconfig and check results.

The HD can be working hard if the virtual memory is real high as it defaults to HD usage when not enough real ram is present. Goto start>setting>control panel>system>advanced>check all areas. tweak what you think can help, but refrain too much, di a new restore point to best safeguard what you got now before resetting. This is where the pgm. called TweakUI helps alot. You custom set your performance level. If you have 'animate' set, turn it off as it will take resources away. This is a result of items that animate the mouse or how the menu are viewed, etc., it can be less rewarding if not enough memory is present. You 512mb, but the most overall practical is 1gb of ram installed. Those are areas I look at, excluding any h/w faults.

tada -----Willy Happy

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I hope this helps....but!!
by castingRod47 / December 3, 2006 6:15 AM PST

Some of those PC parts sound really cheap..
MAXTOR is my Favorite HDD maker..and I also have three Western Digital HDD's..60-GB's is good..CHECK-for a File System..
FAT32 or NTFS....a re-install of the OS should ask for your CHOICE..
Now you said a 20-GB HDD as a System Drive..that's a FAT32 File System..and its at 30-GB's that the NTFS File System comes into play..
So..first off...look in the Defrag-Program and it will Label the Volume as FAT32 or NTFS..if its FAT32/an OS Re-Install is the only FORMAT back to NTFS..
..then you have mentioned your RAM at 256 MB's..
..I think you mentioned a new purchase on the RAM issue..
..was it a complete installation??..did you CHUCK-the old RAM into the trash..??..I think you should place an ALL-new RAM Module into the PC if you really think the PC is worth keeping..
..I think your PC sounds in BUY a NEW PC..
So..check the FILE SYSTEM at NTFS/FAT32..30-GB's needs a NTFS System..NTFS has better quality for Security..RAM is a good aspect of Drive Speeds and Security Software..<<RAM>>is any purchase for the correct RAM..
a Slow PC....could be anything from in-compatible software to a CLOGGED File somewhere..
useing..... msconfig your RUN Program(StartMenu)gives the chance to use a SELECTIVE Start-Up..Un-Checking programs that DON't Need to start up with a Sign-ON to Windows..My MODEM really needs about 20-minutes to fully LOAD its driver for a trip on the internet..McAFEE loads slowly..
So many times I just let my PC sit and don't immeadiately Enter My PASSWORD for Windows..I watch the HDD light Blink away..and do that again once past McAFEE Privacy service..sometimes I just let the Desktop rest for 20-minutes..
Clearing out Un-Necessary Files is tricky also..
Sure IE7 gives us a Huge DELETE-Button these days..
But I use the START MENU and Properties to re-set the ICONS and CLEAR FILES..CLICK Defaults and Choose Microsoft..
OPEN the EVENT Viewer and Clear all of those out(very small files)..
If you have the 1.1 NET(something or other)..CLICK-reset all POLICY Levels..that has helped my PC when I use that UPDATE from MicroSoft Update Service..Its in Administrative TOOLS/and the RUNTIME section has a RESET Button..
I would suggest you DON'T assign DRIVE Letters to your DEVICES..or LABEL them..let Windows choose the Device LETTER---System Drive is (C:)..but other Drives can be Labeled to CHOICE(don't)..that is really a NETWORKing detail..
consider the above and then decide on a New Machine.

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